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Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation)

Professor Graham Turnbull wearing a blue shirt standing in front of a pull up poster stand

‌The Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) assumes responsibility for all research activities within the University. Responsibilities of the Vice Principal (Research and Innovation) include:

  • oversight of the University’s research strategy
  • development and management of internal policy of practice relating to research
  • answering general questions about research and recruitment of postgraduate research students
  • reporting on research activities to external agencies, including the Research Assessment Exercise (REF).

Professor Graham Turnbull

The current Acting Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) is Professor Graham Turnbull.

Graham Turnbull is a Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy, and served as Head of School from 2015-2019. He is an alumnus of the University of St Andrews, graduating with the MSci(Hons) degree in Physics in 1995 and a PhD in 1999. His doctoral research project in nonlinear optics was supervised by Professors Malcolm Dunn and Majid Ebrahimzadeh, and was supported by a Carnegie Trust Scholarship. Following postdoctoral research at the University of Durham, Graham returned to St Andrews where he has been a member of academic staff since 2003.

Graham’s research interests are focused on photonic applications of soft materials, including organic semiconductors, plastic lasers, chemical sensing and nanophotonics. In particular, he is known internationally for his research on polymer lasers including nanoimprinted lasers for very low power operation, the first LED-powered lasers, and their application for explosive sensing. His current research activities are strongly interdisciplinary and include smart lighting technologies for a future generation of WiFi, studies of photosynthesis in red coralline algae, and optical sensors for the trace detection of explosives on minefields. Graham was the Chair of the Scottish Chapter of IEEE Photonics Society from 2008 to 2016, and a trustee of the Scottish Universities Summer Schools in Physics from 2015 to 2019. Within the University, he currently serves as a member of the Research Excellence Board, the Honorary Degree Committee, and is an Elected Member of Senate (2020-2024). He was made a Senior Member of the IEEE in 2010 and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 2019.